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CAAMFest 2013


On behalf of the staff and Board of the Center for Asian American Media, greetings and welcome to CAAMFest! If you have followed us on the thirty-three year journey as NAATA and CAAM, you are aware that our festival was previously known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. You are probably also aware of the direction we’ve been moving the last few years, blending the best in Asian and Asian American film with new directions in music and digital arts. If you’re new to us, our intention will become evident over the next eleven days: to present a world-class festival of contemporary Asian American creative expression in film, music and food designed to inspire, delight and move you.

The core of the festival remains true to its core focus, the discovery and presentation of new talent, new voices, new stories, and new visions. At the same time, we honor the past; this year, for instance, we celebrate the anniversaries of Astro Boy and the Chinese animation classic, The Monkey King (this time presented in a newly restored, 3D version). We are also inaugurating a new initiative, Memories to Light: Asian American Home Movies, a project to collect, preserve and share unique family records that together represent our collective experiences of growing up Asian in America (and yes, my memories include a few precious moments on horseback).

We are extremely proud of the six films that have been selected for the documentary competition which have received CAAM Media Fund support. We give special thanks to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose support keeps our vital work in public media possible. Finally, I would like to extend our thanks to our wonderful members, whose support is key to work, and to our Presenting, Grand and Principal Sponsors: Comcast, Asian Art Museum, Pacific Islanders in Communications and B’stro. These sponsors recognize the important role our festival plays in the cultural life of the Bay Area, and we appreciate their thoughtful support. Whoopi Ti Yi Yo!

Stephen Gong
Executive Director, Center for Asian American Media


Hello and welcome to the 2013 CAAMFest; it’s great to have you here! In 2012, CAAM celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of our yearly showcase, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, which offered an opportunity to honor the filmmakers, activists and community members who paved the way for our present and future storytelling. A year later, we now face a critical question: How can we best sustain the next thirty years of Asian American media? Enter CAAMFest, the new incarnation of our yearly festival.

Our mission is to offer the Bay Area an event like no other – a celebration of the greatest in not just Asian American cinema, but also music, food and all-around culture. So, join us for innovative films, live performances by Dengue Fever and Indian Bastards from Hell (featuring members of Das Racist), talks that will give you a chance to meet today’s most inspiring creators, and some mouth-watering dishes from celebrated chefs. As my usual Astro Boy-inspired front-tip hairstyle suggests, I’m a huge fan of that beloved Japanese cartoon character, and am excited to celebrate his sixtieth anniversary with a multimedia presentation. We are also thrilled to have a retrospective on acclaimed Singaporean filmmaker Royston Tan, who will be in attendance!

On behalf of the CAAM staff, I would like to thank our marvelous sponsors, partners, media guests and, most importantly, our attendees. Thank you for your loyalty, passion for the arts and enduring interest in fostering a strong community. See you at the festival!

Masashi Niwano
Festival and Exhibitions Director


Dear Friends,

It’s with borderline hyperactive excitement that we welcome you to CAAMFest, a milestone in the evolution of our yearly festival. The first item is that you will no longer be required to repeat and memorize our previous moniker—the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival—woohoo! We are now, in one breath, CAAMFest! Secondly, as we enter a renaissance of Asian American artistry and innovation, we are thrilled to present a new way to navigate the festival in CAAM Tides, an organizing principle that encourages free-flowing exploration across platform and genre.

And now for some of the big ones: We open this year’s CAAMFest with the exhilarating, fresh-from-Sundance doc Linsanity, directed by the Bay’s own Evan Jackson Leong. The film provides unparalleled access to sports sensation Jeremy Lin, from his early days through his tumultuous and ultimately triumphant career. Our Centerpiece Gala welcomes back master filmmaker Deepa Mehta, with her exquisite adaption of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

A personal favorite of mine, we also present Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, starring a dapper Riz Ahmed in a vital interpretation of the American Muslim narrative. Lastly, I’d like to thank colleagues and friends as I undertake my last festival at CAAM. I can say with pride that as we step into a new world of creative expression, our core is and has always been about you and your communities. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

Christine Kwon
Festival Managing Director